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16+ Violence

A Shadow's Life

by NadjaWasHere


Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for violence.

The small boy sat in his mother's lap, who was wearing a black gown with the collar reaching her chin, some pure black veins stretching across her face. She hummed a slow but soothing tune, as she brushed the boy's hair. The boy looked up at his mother before asking: "Mother..? Why do you have those..?" he pointed to the pulsating veins on his mother's cheeks. "Well my dear Mortem, once you come of age." his mother started, poking his nose, "you will become a Shadow."

Mortem ran out the door chasing a girl, looking to be the same age as him, with white hair reach-ing the middle of her back. She ran across the courtyard that belonged to a small mansion, she ran to a nearby fountain and jumped in, holding up what seemed to be a large goat skull. "If you want it so badly come and get it!!" the girl yelled, "Can't you just leave me alone for once Achlys?" Mortem said, looking fed up, standing at the edge of the fountain. Achlys threw the skull to him, as he caught it and held it to one side. "What's with you anyway? Why are you so obsessed with that skull of yours?" Achlys said, climbing out the fountain. "Mother gave it to me, am I in the wrong for cherishing it?" He said tilting his head a bit to the side, with a rather blank expression.

Mortem looked at himself in the mirror, staring at the alarming number of black veins, that started climbing up his arms and legs. He looked terrified up at his father, who was holding a needle with the remnants of some black thick liquid. He looked to his hands, and all he could see was the black veins spiraling around and pulsating. 

His mother was stood in the corner of the room, her eyes blank as tears streamed down her cheeks, the same black veins as before, but more prominent than before. Achlys was already sitting in a chair, almost jumping with excitement. Their father reached out his hand, while their mother quickly grabbed a second needle that was sat on a metal dish. Her hands were trembling, as she handed the man they called father the needle. She stepped back into the corner, Mortem stared at her, feeling some sort of... Pity... "You were always my favorite Achlys, so quiet and well mannered." Their father said, before injecting the same thick black liquid into Achlys's arm. Achlys took a deep breath as if she was enjoying the burning sensation in her veins.

His father dusted off his hands and made his leave, walking into his office, with Achlys following quickly behind. Mortem looked to his mother who stepped out of the shadowed corner. "Mortem... My sweet boy, I need you to-" before she could finish the sentence, the front door to the mansion fell to the ground, a loud crash echoed through the main hall. His head shot to the side, before quickly returning to his mother. "I need you to run Mortem, save yourself, I am of no use." His mother pleaded, before starting to shove him off, yelling and crashing that seemed so distant began to get closer and closer. Mortem turned and ran towards his room, quickly bursting through the door grabbing the skull, that was neatly hung on the wall above his bed. He leaped out the window covering his head as he fell to the ground. 

All he could do was run... Run... His mother's words forever hunted him.

He quickly shot up from his bed, standing up pacing around. Mortem gathered himself, and quickly went downstairs, so he could start his day in his bookshop. After all the books weren't going to sell themselves. 


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Points: 188
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Mon Feb 12, 2024 10:33 pm
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MMV wrote a review...



Appealing piece. I followed the visual of this piece, it was well done. The boy(who is a man) had this on his mind for years. He probably would have spent every other day remembering that memory.

I picture gothic/austere atmosphere like a secluded house in this person's memory so it's really about how you addressed the temperature of his relationships with the other characters. He escaped whatever situation that the family was involved to his mother's decry. His mother didn't want him to follow her and his sister's(?) potential future with the injections.

And you left mystery to father's(?) characterization as if he was antagonistic or not.

Waking up suggests he wasn't sure what was taking place and he's figured out or knows that context.




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Thu Feb 08, 2024 2:40 am
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avianwings47 wrote a review...



Hello, fellow author! Today, I’ll be using the Review Monster! (Don’t worry, he’s actually very friendly!) This review template is inspired by the wonderful YWS S'more Method! Let’s take a look, shall we?

The Glowing Eyes: First Impressions!
This piece had me hooked from the title! I thought this was an interesting concept, and I am curious to know more about who and what Mortem is. We are introduced to an interesting family dynamic, as well as some strange happenings. This was a gripping tale that made me want to find out more!
I do wonder, however, if this is the beginning of a novel, perhaps? Correct me if I am wrong, but that is sort of the impression I got from the ending.

The Fluffy Fur: Things I Loved!
The unique characters make me so curious about this piece! I want to know more about this unique world you have built! The concept of personifying a shadow is really interesting! I also thought you did a good job of developing round characters. We can already tell from this short piece that these characters have unique lives, personalities, and goals. This can be especially hard in a short story, and I feel you did this well!
We get a lot of looks into Mortem's thoughts and feelings, and how strange and scary he finds his past. This immediately makes us care about the protagonist, and makes us want to know more!

The Roar: Favorite Lines!

"Well my dear Mortem, once you come of age." his mother started, poking his nose, "you will become a Shadow."

This line of dialogue shows a loving moment between mother and son. I loved the imagery you added to this, further showing the connection Mortem and his mother share. Not only that, but you give us context into who and what Mortem is. There is a lot packed into this sentence, which can be amazing for short stories!

"Mother gave it to me, am I in the wrong for cherishing it?" He said tilting his head a bit to the side, with a rather blank expression.

This statement also shows the connection between Mortem and his mother! It also gives us a peek into Mortem's personality and how he interacts with others. I also felt like I could very clearly picture how he was saying this line! Well done!

The Sharp, Yellow Teeth: A Bit of Advice!
There are two things I'll point out here, both about structure.
When writing dialogue, each time a new person speaks, there should be a new paragraph. Sometimes, this means that a paragraph only consists of one character's dialogue. Here is an example, using part of the second paragraph of this story.
"If you want it so badly come and get it!!" the girl yelled.

"Can't you just leave me alone for once Achlys?" Mortem said, looking fed up, standing at the edge of the fountain. Achlys threw the skull to him, as he caught it and held it to one side.

"What's with you anyway? Why are you so obsessed with that skull of yours?" Achlys said, climbing out the fountain.

"Mother gave it to me, am I in the wrong for cherishing it?" He said tilting his head a bit to the side, with a rather blank expression.

*Note that there are other ways to break this section up since there is also some description written in this scene. This is merely a suggestion, meant to help further explain my critique*

The other thing I'll point out is time-skips. Unless I'm missing context here, it felt that this story jumped around to different points in time. This can be a great thing, especially when giving the readers context! However, when there is a time skip, there needs to be a clear indication of this, or else the reader can feel lost. this can be done by putting two lines of empty spacing, putting a symbol in between paragraphs, or putting a date in front of each scene. I'm sure there are other ways to go about this, so it's entirely up to you!

Stomping Away: Closing Thoughts!
Overall, this was an enjoyable, haunting piece that kept me intrigued throughout. You developed interesting characters with complex emotions and provided us with a unique world that keeps the reader wanting more. This story has the potential to become a wonderful novel if you decide to do so!

Keep writing! -Avian




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Points: 79
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Tue Feb 06, 2024 9:35 pm
AftonFamily09 says...



It's very visual. 8/10




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5 Reviews

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Tue Feb 06, 2024 3:08 am
AJW says...



YES, I'VE MISSED MORTEM.





"In my contact with people I find that, as a rule, it is only the little, narrow people who live for themselves, who never read good books, who do not travel, who never open up their souls in a way to permit them to come into contact with other souls -- with the great outside world."
— Booker T. Washington, Up From Slavery